Florida’s Best Beach Town – Clearwater, FL and a Day at the Super Boat Races

It was my first trip to the gulf coast of Florida. The plane landed in Tampa Bay just 30 minutes from Clearwater and my first National Super Boat Championship.  As much as I enjoyed watching the boats and attending the VIP parties, the beach left an impression.

view of clearwater beach in florida from the hilton hotel

view from the Hilton during the VIP party

As I walked along the shoreline, I realized I was walking one of America’s best beaches. In fact, it won Florida’s Best Beach Town (in a 2013 USA Today Poll) and with its sugar soft sand, new boardwalk, splendid sunsets, and warm water I agree it is one of Florida’s finest.

 VIP Views of the Beach

Many of the top hotels in the area held VIP parties for viewing the races. I attended a few and took images of the beach from above or at a  distance. These will provide a scale to the beach.

the view of clearwater beach, florida from the famous Sand Pearl Resort

from the Sandpearl Resort

the view from the top floor of the Hyatt Resort in Clearwater Florida

View from the Hyatt (I stayed here)

Walking on the Soft Sand in Clearwater

The roar of the engines could be heard from a distance, but I wanted to watch one class (there are multiple classes and races) of super boat races up close with my feet in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. After a few moments at the water’s edge, I decided to walk down the town’s famous Pier 60 to capture an image of the super boat in action.

Clearwater beach during the Super Boat National Championship

up close on the Gulf

the view of Clearwater Beach and the Hyatt hotel from Pier 60 in Clearwater, FL

the view of the beach from Pier 60

The Beach at Shepard’s Bay Resort

The Tiki Bar at Shepards Beach Resort held the after party complete with a bikini contest. My VIP access did grant me admission, but it was a far different clientele from the VIP parties I visited earlier in the day. Here boats arrived and just tied up, passengers came ashore for drinks and the party spread from the beach bar onto the water.

the party in the water at the Tiki Bar in Shepard's Resort in Clearwater, Fl

boats and bikinis start to arrive at Shepard's


the sun starting to set at the Tiki Bar Shepard's Resort in Clearwater, Fl

almost time for sunset

It was a special weekend with the Super Boat National Championship (held the last weekend in September every year). i learned a tremendous amount about the boats and the races, but I found myself also learning about one of Florida’s best beaches. I’ll be back.

Stay adventurous, Craig

This post is part of the annual winter Beach Thursday Series. Every Thursday, all winter, prepare for a post from a beach somewhere across the globe. Special thanks to the City of Clearwater, Fl for the invitation.

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